Cook it, try it, like it!

Ashley MacDougall is teaching the program in Barriere to students from Barriere Elementary.

Dale Bass

Kamloops This Week

Thanks to a couple of donations, the cook it, Try It, Like It! (VITILI) program in Interior elementary schools is expanding.  Simone Jennings, a nutritionist with the Interior Health Authority, said a $4,000 grant from NutritionLink Services Society, part of the VanCity Community Foundation, is going toward adding five rural schools to the program, which provides one after-school session a week for five weeks as it exposes children to food.

Th Real Canadian Superstore in Kamloops also donated almost $1,200 worth of kitchen supplies that will be used to create kits used in the program.

CITILI started in 201 to teach children in grades 4 to 7 about nutrition, food safety, knife skills, where food comes from, how to grow it and how to cook it.  At the end of the program, children tour a grocery store.

While the program has been offered in Kamloops, the VanCity grant is expanding to Logan Lake, Barriere, Chase, Heffley Creek and Blue River in a pilot project to gauge interest in those towns.

At some schools, it will also be offered to children in kindergarten to grade 3.

Among the lessons they learn, for example, is the amount of sugar in popular drinks –and then they’re shown how to make a smoothie with ingredients from fruits and spinach.

Next comes the taste test and the discovery not everything needs to be loaded with sugars.

Another lesson sees kids peeling and chopping vegetables, adding some oils and spices and roasting them.

Jennings said research shows if a child is involved in growing and preparing a food, the child is more likely to try it.

“If you can get kids touching and tasting and chopping vegetables, the more likely they’ll eat them –and that can help with childhood obesity,” Jennings said.

The project is a partnership between the IHA community nutrition program, School District 73 and the City of Kamloops, which provides a chef to oversee the cooking.

The Superstore donation earlier this year was used to build the kitchen kits, including everything from blenders to paring knifes to tea towels to dishes and cutlery.

Ashley MacDougall is teaching the program in Barriere to students from Barriere Elementary.  It is now into the final week of the five week after school program. The last cooking lesson as the fifth class is a grocery store tour.